Saturday, February 19, 2005

Official Tally of Second Homes About To Soar

The second-home market right now is "unprecedented," David Lereah, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, tells the Washington Post today.

Even his association has been surprised by the size of the second-home market, the paper continues.

"There's significantly more second homes out there than we realized," Walter Molony, a spokesman for the real estate association in Washington, is quoted as saying. "It's a much larger share of total home sales than we previously understood."

In 2003, the NAR estimated there were 6.6 million second homes in the country and that second-home sales represented 5 percent to 6 percent of total home sales.

A new report the association plans to release in March will show that this number is much higher. Vacation homes alone total about 6 million, according to the report, and that doesn't include second homes bought for investment only.

According to the association, its earlier study underestimated the size of the number of second homes because the market proved hard to measure. Questionnaires sent to second homes often weren't returned because the homeowner didn't live there, Molony said. The new survey was done via the Internet.

Second-home buyers have more access to money than they used to, the story continues, largely because their primary homes have escalated sharply in value.

Or, as Lereah, the NAR economist, put it: "All the stars have aligned for the second-home market."

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